Apr 19, 2011


Khaliqur Rahman
There are bulbs: Philips bulbs, Crompton bulbs, Bajaj bulbs and bulbs of various other manufacturing companies, of various different wattages. Those that are there in electrical appliances stores, waiting to be sold out, do not, in fact, cannot, give out light, can they? Those that have been bought and put into a circuit, can they give out light? Yes, they can. But that depends on a few conditions. They should be switched on, the main switch should be switched on and the power supply from the power station should be on. In the event of failure of one of the three, the bulb will not be able to give out light. There is one more possibility when the bulb stops giving out light. That is when the bulb is fused. Then, there are minor factors, too, that can come in the way, and the bulb fails to give out light. That is when there is a loose connection somewhere or the switch needs a repair or the main switch needs a repair or some other component, like the holder of the bulb needs a repair or needs to be changed.
The brand names of the bulbs can be easily read or identified as long as the bulbs don’t give out light. When they are switched on and when they are giving out light, you can’t easily read or identify the brand. In fact, then, it hardly matters which brand names they bear.
And, a bulb of any brand has undergone a certain meticulously tough process of manufacturing and of quality control before it is branded and sent into the market for sale.
What will follow if a pumpkin, somewhere, somehow, manipulates and manages to carry the brand name of Philips, or a cucumber that of Crompton, or a snake-gourd that of Bajaj? That exactly is what is happening in the dreadful present day world.
Hazarat Nizauddin initiated Amir Khusro’s father first, then, Amir Khusro. But it was Khusro who said: Chhaap tilak sab chheeni re mo se naina milaake.
Can you see electricity? Can you touch it? No. But you can see a bulb, hold it, fix it in a holder, switch it on and get light from it. You can get fresh air from an electric fan, cool air from an air- conditioner, heat from an electric heater and …
It is the same electricity in the bulb, in the fan, in the air-conditioner and the heater and… The bulb, the fan, the air-conditioner and the heater can get changed or can be replaced but can you change electricity? Can you get light directly from electricity without the bulb and air without the fan…?
Every religion has a code of conduct. By strictly following the code of conduct an astute follower reaches the threshold of spirituality. The bulb has reached the shop and it needs to be sold out. Maulana Rumi has been an illustrious example of an astute follower who had dedicated eighty years of life to the code of conduct and who had attained knowledge of the books so much that he was able to speak for three nights on just one letter of The Quran. But all this was ilm-e-safina that had enkindled in his heart the strong urge to attain ilm-e-seena. It was then that Shams-e-Tabrez entered his life and initiated him into spirituality. The high wattage bulb was sold and bought.
People say they can get all the guidance from the books. So, there is no need for a human guide. But even in formal education you need a teacher and a guide even at the level of Ph D. Then how can one attain spiritual knowledge without a guide? The fact is: they don’t want to be sold out. But what about the buyers nowadays? Most of them want to buy on credit! That’s also true. What is the solution, then? Maulana Rumi has already offered one. He has said:
 The guide need not be perfect; the disciple has to develop into one with devotion.
What the disciples need is devotion, dedication and complete surrender. It is quite likely that the unflinching devotion of the disciple may tacitly work and the guide is enlightened!
The power house of electricity is very powerful indeed, but it needs wires for power supply. The Supreme Power House works mysteriously and can turn a bulb into a power house!

Mar 2, 2011


Khaliqur Rahman

Muslims, in India, are either Sunnis or non-Sunnis. Amongst non-Sunnis are Shias, Bohras, Khojas and Bahais. Amongst Sunnis, some are Wahabis. A smaller percentage amongst Sunnis has embraced one or the other Silsila while the rest have refrained from doing so but go to Durgahs.
Historically speaking, amongst the Sunnis, there are four Silsilas: Naqshbandiya, Shurwardiya, Qadariya and Chishtiya. Add to these the later-on off-shoots like Chishtiya-Nizamiya, Nizamiya, A’bul U’lai, Warsi, Suhagan and perhaps finally, Deobandis and Barelvis.
All the Muslims think that they are lucky to be born of parents who follow Islam. Most of them believe that non-followers of Islam are Kafirs. They have their eyes set on Jannat because they are assured of celestial wine and women (sharab-t’ahoor and hoor).
The question is: if a child born of medical doctors is not a doctor unless it grows and takes a degree in Medicine, how come, a Musalman’s son is Musalman and a Brahmin’s son, a Brahmin? And, is it not funnily astounding for a Muslim who has had a full share of life in this world to still crave for t’ahoor and hoor in Jannat?
If all of them claim to live life in pursuit of God and believe in truth and love (which are the two basic tenets of religions of the world, anyway) why should they choose to quarrel?
After Independence in India, many Muslims thought their place was in Pakistan. Those who could not go because of various constraints had their hearts in Pakistan because their near and dear had crossed over. Some of them chose not to leave the Mother Earth of Birth. Come, what may! I think now, that these people, knowingly or unknowingly, had the heart and mind of Amir Khusro who is the example at the top of those who are faithful to the land, the language of the land and the ruler of the land.
Let’s now look at the lifestyles of Muslims in India these days. Some are very astute and pray five times a day, recite Quran regularly and observe fast during Ramadan. Some of them do it quietly and some demonstrate it. Sunnis, who think they are not Wahabis, go to durgahs. Some durgah-goers have become mureeds, therefore, have a Peer or Murshid. Most Muslims are not properly educated to understand mundane things of life, let alone the basics of religion they follow. It is, therefore, understandable they follow religion only socially and ritualistically. The educated Muslims are either led into blind faith or rigid dogmas because of the literature they’ve read or the company they keep. Some of them do go to durgahs but keep themselves away from Peeri-Mureedi. But they do go to astrologers and/or Alims with mundane problems of life; some of them openly, others, otherwise.
In a situation like this, it is prime time for half-baked, semi-learned Imams, priest heads, peer sahibs and qadims, of mosques, madrasas, halqas and durgahs to exploit the illiterate and semi-literate masses to their own advantage.
In my view there is nothing wrong with any religion but everything seems to be wrong with not all but some of the followers in every religion who represent it to be rigid and dogmatic and thus denying it its very basic value: love. This trend, call it religious activism, is noticed to be very unfortunately growing amongst the youth of all religions. Here, I’ll try to look at the Muslim youth. They are taught to believe that:
Christians are ‘wrong’ because they claim Christ to be the Son of God.
Hindus are Kafirs because they are idol-worshippers.
Most Muslims who go to Durgahs and follow a Peer are Mushriks.
Let’s take Son of God and compare it with similar expressions like the son of the soil or the son of the Mother Earth. If soil or earth is Mother, do you think of the Father? It’s a way of saying, isn’t it? It is certainly not an issue.
And, who is a Kafir? A Kafir is a non-believer, not of Islam but of God. In Quran, in my view, only Firaun(Phaeroah) is a Kafir because he claimed himself to be God.
Who is an idol-worshipper? Don’t we all worship a moving idol in the form of our own body much more than, we think, we worship God, if at all, we worship God? Khudparasti hi butparasti hai, says Hazarat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.
Aren’t we, then, Kafirs and also Mushriks, ourselves? As long as the combination of the animal, the Satan and the Ego is alive in us, aren’t we guilty of Kufr and Shirk?
O God, the most Merciful, forgive us our sins and our ignorance. ASTAGHFIRULLAH! Taubah Taubah Taubah!!!



Khaliqur Rahman

Qayaam, Rukuu’, Sajdah and Qa’dah are the four postures in a namaaz corresponding to Standing, Bending down, Touching the ground with forehead and Sitting down, all, as if before God.
While I was in CIEFL (Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages) Hyderabad, I’d go for Friday Prayers, if I was able to, without affecting my work. On the way to the mosque is a mazaar of two Muslim Saints. After the prayers, I’d stop to offer my homage to these saints. My way of doing this is to bend down at the ‘feet’ of the grave and kiss. Since these graves were low set, I had to kneel down and then bend.This posture would resemble that of a Sajdah and because this mazaar is just by the side of the road and without walls and roof, all this was in clear view of the passers-by.
That Friday, as I was going to my room after lunch, the Arabic Department scholars were standing in front of their rooms, waiting…
I understood. They wanted to teach me a lesson after what they must have seen me doing at the mazaar. I had a lot of work to do, so I didn’t want to waste time on the forthcoming discussion that I knew would be of no avail. But adamant as they were, they asked me to refrain from offering a Sajdah ‘to the Mazaar for a sajdah must be “done” to “One and only One”, and that is God’. They told me that what I did was shirk – an unpardonable sin.
Squeezed and cornered thus, I didn’t know what to do. I closed my eyes and ‘remembered’ (assumed ‘tasavvur’ of) my peer-o-murshid (whose mazaar is in Ratlam). I can’t say how the thoughts came and found words through my mouth. I asked one of them if he was married and wrote letters to his wife. The dialogue went something like this:
‘Are you married, Rasheed Sa’b?’ “Yes” ‘Do you write letters to your wife?’ “Yes” ‘How do you send the letter to your wife?’ “I put it in an envelope, write the address on it and drop it in the mailbox” ‘Does the mailbox keep it?’ “Silly question” ‘No, it is NOT’ I went on…
According to Quran the Wali-Allahs are alive. The Quran warns us against taking them for dead. If they are alive, will they ‘keep’ my Sajdah, if it was a Sajdah? Even if it was a Sajdah that I ‘did’ to the saint which I should have ‘done’ to God, will he keep it or get angry at the ‘deed’? I think he will look to God and say: this ignorant person who is ‘blind, deaf and dumb’(Quran) has ‘put’ the Sajdah here…O God You are all Merciful, forgive him…I’m ‘redirecting’ the Sajdah to you…Please accept…Rasheed Sa’b, my Sajdah, thus reaches God…Where does yours go?...Next time you write a letter to your wife, don’t put it in the mailbox…just throw it in the air…DIRECT…!
They rejected it as a specious argument
After more than 25 years when I look back, I find that my sense of gratitude towards my ‘murshid’ is simply beyond measure. Those thoughts had come to me very first time after ‘remembering’ him.
Now, to make things clearer still, I can say, a sajdah cannot be performed in a vacuum. It has to be here on this solid earth with a wall or an Imam or another namazi in front. Do we then, in any of these situations, ‘send’ our sajdah to the earth, to the wall in front, to the Imam or a namazi in front?
A sajdah is like a crossed cheque. No one else can cash it.
The other thing that needs to be understood is: God asked Satan to ‘bow down’ before Adam. Satan didn’t because he thought he was made of Fire and Adam was made of Earth…Satan did not realise that God was everywhere including within Adam.
The other thing that we don’t very clearly understand is: Man is a queer ‘mix’ of shaitaniyat, haiwaniyat, admiyat, insaniyat and lillahiyat. To wash off Shirk, a person needs to get rid of everything except lillahiyat. In other words one should ‘die’ before death (Quran).
To ‘kill’ the Shaitan, the ‘shaitan’ in ‘me’ must ‘bow down’ before the ‘god’ in my murshid !

Jan 21, 2011


Shiksha and Diksha

khaliqur Rahman

Shiksha and Diksha were twins. They looked alike all right, but in life they moved in different directions. Their goal, though, was more or less the same, as perhaps is everybody’s, a successful life.
Shiksha as a child went to school, then to college and university. Diksha didn’t like school bags and books. She told her parents, she wouldn’t go to school. The parents were sensible and good enough to see through her mind. They agreed as they didn’t want to put any extra pressure on her. Shiksha always wanted to become a Somebody, not an Anybody and certainly not like an Everybody. Even as a child, she participated in Fancy Dress Competitions and bagged awards as Saraswati, Sita and Durga. Later, she took to Mock Parliaments. In college, she acted as Indira, Uma and Rabri. This make-believe overplay became her attitude in life. Her degrees - BSc, MA, PhD- were like Indira, Uma and Rabri in her; good enough to show, better still for accolades but in reality, Diksha knew, Shiksha was never a good student. Shiksha herself had often told Diksha how she cheated in the exams and how cleverly she flirted with the important men to get her PhD.
Shiksha, unlike Diksha, has had poor health since childhood. Poor Shiksha always had to go to hospital to be able to go to school and to college and she always had to go to coaching classes to be able to clear her exams. Shiksha had no time for prayers; neither for sports, nor for exercises. Understandably, she grew (grew?) into a real irritable girl-- and not very long later into an irritating woman.
Diksha spent her time with her mother. She watched her, cooking, washing and doing the chores. Watching led her to doing, as it always does. Soon, she was as good as her mother!
Diksha spent her time with her father and her friends, too. She learnt quite a lot from them as well. She had enough time to pray with either mother or father or both. And, she had time to run around and play with her friends. Not unexpectedly, she developed into an attractive girl and later into a still more attractive woman after she got married. The suitable boy picked Diksha much earlier than Shiksha hooked her unsuitable boy for an unarranged marriage.
Shiksha is childless, whereas Diksha has a boy and a girl. Diksha thinks she has given her husband someone like him. And, her husband thinks he has given Diksha someone like her.
Like her degrees, Shiksha is trying to manage motherhood through a test-tube, and expecting a baby-girl, who Diksha thinks, Shiksha should call Pratiksha, or perhaps, Bhiksha.
Diksha also thinks that Dikshant Samaroh should better be called Shikshant Samaroh because that invariably marks the end of Shiksha.

Jan 20, 2011


!K. Rahman
Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio
Silentio Silentio              Silentio Silentio
Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio
This is a Spanish poem. Keith Mitchell, our Grammar teacher in Edinburgh, wrote it on the blackboard to make a point in relation to language, grammar and communication. The missing SILENTIO in the middle is the deviation from grammar but it communicates the intention of the poet and allows him to say what he wants to.
Silence is golden is a saying that means it is better to say nothing in a particular situation. These words of considered wisdom are taken from the proverb that says speech is silver, silence is golden meaning it is better to speak and even better not to.
The silent majority is another idiom that comes to mind. The silent majority is a large bulk of population that has moderate and reasonable line of thought but prefers not to express.
The vocal minority, then, takes charge and begins to govern. What is worse, the silent majority silently becomes a contributor to the worsening state of malaise even if it doesn’t want to. But it sticks to the lesser evil. That’s why, perhaps, the saying is: silence is golden and not silence is gold.
If silence is gold, it will shine in the light of “kindness and generosity, openness, understanding and feeling.” But silence is golden and the golden, nowadays, shines best in the light of “sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self interest.”(The quotes, this one and the one above, are taken from Steinbeck.)
The golden also shines, nowadays, in the light of false wisdom, false erudition, false honour and pseudo-religion and pseudo-spiritualism. It is threateningly striking, like lightning, through the dark of the blackest clouds of current corrupt politics and corrupt bureaucracy.
The golden is not always gold, like in golden days or golden hair. Therefore, silence is not always silent.
It can now be said that there are two types of silence: positive silence and negative silence. Positive silence is peace and quiet. Negative silence is disturbing noise.
Luckily, while I am endowed to relish the taste of silence that is positive, I am perhaps equally fortified to stand or turn a deaf ear to silence that is negative, even if its cacophony has deafening decibels. But if I decided to be silent when a rebuttal was needed to at least get a disapproval registered, I would be silently supporting negativity and I should feel guilty. I should be equally guilty if I spoke where I should have kept quiet. What is, therefore, needed is good sense rather than erudition or the so-called present-day wisdom. Good sense brings with it the wisdom to apply intelligence at the right time and place.
It is advisable to sleep over desire for anything that is material but it is always dangerous to sleep over minor ailments, for what looks like a small lump today may turn into an abscess or even a cancer over a period of time.
In the last six or seven decades it seems humanity has taken more wrong decisions than the right ones !